Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Thought I’d Never Say This: Thoughts on Playing Guild Wars 2!

In Video Games on April 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I don’t think I’ve looked forward to a beta this much since as long as I can remember. The whole beta concept is kinda new, yes, and I was only peripherally aware of previous big ticket betas, like World of Warcraft. I had vied (along with the rest of the internet) for the Starcraft II beta, and had I gotten a chance to play Diablo III when I was full of the hype for it I might not have lost interest.

But Guild Wars 2 was a chance to …almost prove to myself that the game existed, and maybe even that it was worth the heaps of expectations laid upon it, to deliver us from the MMOs of yesterday into the glorious world of tomorrow, or if I’d suffer a massive case of disappointment and buyer’s remorse. Read the rest of this entry »


This Is What I Think About When People Idolize the Gaming Industry

In The Gaming Community on April 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm

The gaming industry combines the worst aspects of Hollywood’s Prima donna tendencies with the tech industry’s dire reliance on what amounts to a caste system filled with eminently disposable employees to create a system of severe exploitation and devaluation that ultimately serves no one but those at the top.

Yet gamers dream of making it into the industry and will take any opportunity to “break” in, even going so far as to swarm positions that common and heavily published wisdom dictate as a bad place to start and a worse place to live for any amount of time.

Those poor game testers. Read the rest of this entry »

My Girlfriend Does Not Understand Game Time

In My Girlfriend Does Not Play Video Games, Video Games on April 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm

To those that do not play video games, gaming is a simple, all encompassing activity: controller in hand, seat on couch, eyes on screen, and you’re playing a game. Beyond that, the specifics are lost on the observer as unwanted and unneeded. For my girlfriend especially, game time takes place to the exclusion of her time, regardless as to intent, timing or context. For this reason I tend to play in the evening after she’s gone to bed but this has its own problems.

The greater challenge is in categorizing how and why you play games, and how to convey that to someone who might not be as interested in the complexities of the activity as you are. Chief among these issues is in our quickness to compare gaming to other activities. It’s like reading a book, watching a movie or hanging with friends. Except it’s simultaneously similar and nothing like all of these things. Read the rest of this entry »

If You’re Reading This Then I am Already Dead

In Video Games on April 24, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Though audio logs have become a popular tool for filling the player in regarding setting and backstory (however didactically), this wasn’t always the case. Broadly speaking, the current generation saw this idea reintroduced through Doom 3 but popularized to near ubiquity through Bioshock, where now players can easily expect any reasonably tense game to possess them, though its inclusion has branched out to games that occur during or after major destructive events. Even Army of Two: The 40th Day had these as a collectible, though they did little to ameliorate the game’s nonsensical plot.

Back in the day, though, a little game called System Shock used these not to just tell you about the backstory, but to reinforce the actual moment the game takes place — an altogether more difficult trick to pull off. Read the rest of this entry »

Diablo III Demo Beta!

In Video Games on April 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Ostensibly a stress test, last weekend’s open beta granted access to those of us that hadn’t yet been included in D3‘s beta schedule. Judging from my own personal experience I’m sure we all know more than a few people that had been included thus far, who have regaled us about this highly anticipated sequel, but to actually play it. well…

There’s an article in that. Read the rest of this entry »

Zombie Goasts: Switching it Up on the Realism Railroad

In Video Games on April 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Military shooters show a dedication to realism that I find hard to appreciate (to say nothing of the rah rah patriotism inherent in the genre). Too often does death come swiftly and frequently from numerous unseen foes due to the game disproportionately rewarding sniping and camping without offering any real recourse against it — just like in real life! It suffices to say then that the theatrics of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier convincingly mimicking real life special forces holds less appeal than the little floaty numbers hovering around their weapons with the game’s augmented-reality HUD, and it’s with this that I find that there’s just enough wiggle room at the top to make realism appealing. Read the rest of this entry »

Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World of Warcraft

In The Gaming Community, Video Games on April 19, 2012 at 3:42 pm

You can tell much about a game by its release date. Or rather, you can get a whiff of the publisher’s intentions by such information. In this way, games can be likened to movies; lacking a successful model for episodic content, we rely on singular release events which carry varied intents based upon the time of year as well as its adjacency to competing releases. Unlike movies, games have both a pre-order model and staying power that makes adjacency to big titles tricky, moreso due to games being much more expensive than a movie ticket. Read the rest of this entry »

Making the Perfect Sandbox

In Video Games on April 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Today we have our pick of open world games, ranging from the latest romp du jour to the years old title that fills the gap between boredom and diversion. The genre struggles and excels in the same areas depending on the game, as it’s really more of a styling or framework rather than a genre, as such games can encompass anything from fantasy to crime to zombie pastiche. Which elements, done well, would produce the best open world game when combined? Let’s find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Kickstarters, Crowdsourcing, Word of Mouth and Digital Distribution: Should Publishers be Afraid?

In The Gaming Community, Video Games on April 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Traditionally, publishers have been responsible for funding and distributing development projects and afterwards deciding how much of their marketing might to expend on promoting the new game. This allows them to act as gatekeepers, granting them first and in most cases final say on what games get developed. This tremendous power sculpts the game industry as we see it today: “hit” focused, sequel-heavy, IP-intensive with all games trending towards broader appeal of an assumed market base of young adult to adult white males. However, emerging technology and social trends stand poised to challenge this model. Read the rest of this entry »

My First Con: Thoughts on Chicago’s C2E2

In My Girlfriend Does Not Play Video Games, Webcomics on April 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm

As the title says, I’ve never been to a con before. I’m not even sure what I went to was a “con” in whatever classical sense that might govern these sorts of things. It wasn’t called “Chicago Comic Con” — I think that’s a different thing — but in the end there were comics at the McCormick place convention center. Did I have a good time? Will I be attending future cons? Read the rest of this entry »